In 1997 Abi was given a canary. Soon after a guest offered us a parrot (since we already had a bird) and so Beaker came to us, a mischievous, opinionated cherryhead conure. Little did we know our lives would never be the same. Knowing nothing about parrots, we turned to the old AOL chat rooms and met the amazing and wonderful bird community that led us through the early stages of parrot care: BJ at Moccasin Landing, the Brendas, Mikey Bird, Judith, Janet, and many others... some have passed, others are still with us, the chat rooms are long gone, but the generosity and experience we found there guides us still.
A parrot alone is sad and vulnerable, so Cosmo Patagonian came. Then Gracie macaw arrived after a visit to a LARRA sponsored conference and we began making ties to the midwest rescue community. Soon most of the downstairs rooms of our roomy farm house were full of birds, our children grew and left home and new birds moved to upstairs bedrooms. We realized that we were a rescue. We set up a 501c3 non profit status, built a web page, acquired a board and Micheal started attending bird fairs to educate and inform and build support for the rescue. Parrots began to fill the house.
We finished off the attic in 1999 and began moving birds to the third floor. We slowly reached the limit of birds that we could reasonably shelter and care for and we needed to make a decision about whether to remain a small in home rescue or take the huge financial and time committment to expanding. At this point Lynne and Derrick Grimmer from the MidAmerican Cage Bird Society in Des Moines approached us in 2006 about expanding our capacity and mission. Their generous grant and continued support led to a separate dedicated building plus funds and a mandate for land restoration.
In 2008 we moved the birds into their new facility. Since then we have built a loyal family of volunteers and donors. We've seen additions and upgrades, plus a lot of birds passing through on their ways to new homes. By the end of 2018 that number was over 1,000. Along the way we've been helped by too many people to mention, as mentors, volunteers, donors, and supporters. We're always learning, always trying to help, and always hoping that someday we won't be needed, when every bird is in a good forever home.
Beaker: friend and mentor